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Wolves Chinese takeover: Who are Fosun and how do they compare to richest football owners?

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We take a look at how Wolves' new owners Fosun compare to fellow football mega-bucks owners.


Mega-bucks owners have become par for the course in English football in the years since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea back in 2004.

Now Wolves are the latest club to be taken over by a billionaire with cash to burn.

But how does Guo Guangchang, the chairman of Fosun Group, match up to the richest owners in the country?

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Well, with an estimated personal wealth of a cool £4.1 billion he is certainly no pauper – and becomes the fourth wealthiest man in English football.

The 49-year-old is the 17th richest Chinese man on this year's Forbes Rich List.

The businessman has also developed a career in politics, becoming a representative of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Manchester City's Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the top dog in the English football rich list, with a staggering estimated personal wealth of £15.1bn.

He completed £200m takeover of City in 2008, and since then the club have won five major honours including two Premier League titles.

During his time Manchester City have spent £934m on transfers and hold the British record fee, the £62m purchase of Belgian international Kevin de Bruyne.

Roman Abramovich is second on the list with £6.2bn to his name.

The Russian billionaire revolutionised the Premier League by splashing the cash.

Arsenal's majority shareholder Stan Kroenke is third on the list, with a personal wealth of £5.9bn.

The American businessman also owns the LA Rams and Colorado Rapids.

His wealth stems from business ventures in real estate and shopping centre construction, before he moved into sport in the mid 1990s.

Tottenham Hotspur's owner Joe Lewis is fifth in the list – with his estimated worth of £4bn just below Mr Guangchang's.

He is the owner of one of Britain's biggest pub operators, Mitchell & Butlers plc.

Who are Fosun and who is Guo Guangchang?

Wolves' new owner is one of the new breed of Chinese business tycoons who have become the movers and shakers in the global economy over the last two decades.

Guo Guangchang is the chairman heading one of China's biggest conglomerates, Fosun. He and four university friends started the business back in 1992. Today, aged 49, his personal wealth is estimated at around £4.2 billion.

Described by some as a low-profile workaholic, Guo hit the headlines in December last year when he disappeared for several days.

It turned out he had been detained by Chinese police and was 'assisting authorities with an investigation' linked to a corruption case.

He was released a few days later and appears to have returned to work as normal.

Guo-Guangchang, left, and former owner Steve Morgan, right

The following month he was on stage in apparently fine form with Portuguese sports agent Jorge Mendes at a high profile event marking a tie-up between Mendes' Gestifute company and Foyo, the entertainment arm of Guo's Fosun empire.

Foyo was founded in 2003.

Like many of his fellow Chinese business leaders, Guo appears to be following the lead of China's president, Xi Jinping, who wants his country to become a world leader in football.

A devotee of Tai Chi, the Chinese combination of exercise and philosophy with balance at its heart, Guo has built his business empire balancing the demands of China's communist political elite on one side and his entrepreneurial drive on the other.

He was born in a small farming town in 1967, during the early days of China's Cultural Revolution. It was a tough time and, in interviews, he has said his mother had to grow sweet potatoes in secret to feed the family.


At 18 he received a government bursary to attend Shanghai's prestigious Fudan University – now considered one of the top 100 university's in the world.

He studied philosophy, but showed his business brain early on, going door to door selling bread to his fellow students to earn money to cover his monthly expenses.

As China started encouraging enterprise and business, he and four student friends started up their own company in 1992, to advise foreign companies that were trying to get a foothold in the country.

Guo's model was Warren Buffett, the legendary US investor, and over the next 24 years the business grew into a conglomerate managing more than US$100 billion of assets.

Insurance and investment are at the core of the business, but it also has interests in pharmaceuticals, property, steelmaking, mining, tourism and now entertainment, including Cirque du Soleil.

It is one of the largest non-state owned enterprises in China.

The first high-profile international deal for Fosun was buying a stake of holiday resort operator Club Med.

In line with China's national policy of global expansion, he began a string of aggressive deals, snapping up property and companies at a rapid rate, spending billions last year on Bermuda-based insurer Ironshore and US based Meadowbrook. Fosun also controls big stakes in companies around the world.

In the UK it is particularly known for its investment in luxury nursery brand Silver Cross and international travel company Thomas Cook.

While his company has a high profile, Guo has apparently tried to keep his personal life under the radar.

That has been more difficult since marrying his current wife, Wang Jinyuan, a well-known television anchor in Shanghai.

His former wife Tan Jian is another director of Fosun and one of the five original students who founded the business.

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